Earlier this evening, I'm out at this Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas with six guys from our field sales team, the night before one of their big trade shows (I'm here to do some consumer research on the product they sell, so not sales, thank the FSM). If there's one thing a group of salesmen in off-hours is good for, it's... well, it's whiskey, but it's also Fish Stories. The biggest sale they ever made, the best football they ever caught, et cetera et cetera.

Well, 2.5 bottles of cabernet and 3 plates of calamari into dinner, and the stories start to fly. First, someone had to talk about their daughter and The Best Wedding Anyone In The History Of Weddings Has Ever Thrown For Their Daughter. He knew it was The Best because EVERY SINGLE GUEST told him so. So it must be true, because NO ONE has EVER said "this is the best wedding I've ever been to" to their hosts. Never ever. There is no possible way this is the most over-used wedding compliment.

So another guy followed that up with a story about crawfish... blah blah blah I'm from Louisiana, and we eat crawfish BY THE POUND. We don't count INDIVIDUAL crawfish, that's what you yankees do. THAT'S SAD SAD CRAWFISH DEFICIENCY. Then this same Louisianian (?) talked about catching a 6-foot gar (that's a long, ugly fish with teeth) when he was 8 years old, a classic, "It was bigger than I was!" variation on the Fish Story. But the kicker was when he said the fishing guide with them used a hacksaw to cut off the gar's head, and IT THREW SPARKS from the steel blade against the scales of the fish !!!!!!1!!!!11!

Fish Stories

The next story consisted of some guy who was deep-sea fishing and caught a swordfish or tarpon or something with a horn, it may have been a unicorn (2.5 bottles of wine, remember?). If you've never been deep-sea fishing, it's this kind of fishing where you take way too small a boat out into way too much water to catch fish that are way to big to pull into the boat on your own. SO THEY STRAP YOU TO THE BOAT SO THE FISH DOESN'T DRAG YOU IN. Sounds like fun, right? NOoooooope. Anyway, this massive, horned fish starts flapping around inside the boat. Apparently the professional guides didn't see this coming, or they are new at this, got scared and JUMPED OUT OF THE BOAT to get away from the crazy "Imma shank you!" fish, leaving the poor mooge of a client STILL STRAPPED TO HIS CHAIR IN THE BOAT. The fish got away.

Fish Stories

Which leaves me. Yes, I got to top all the guys. It was quite liberating. You see, several careers ago, I was a park ranger. Park rangers love to get together and swap stories about you crazy visitors who come to parks to "hike" in flip-flops, or ask us to dial down the mosquitos, or other hilariously sit-com-y questions. Well, at one of the parks I worked, there was a large lake, and we had several other agencies that handled the on-lake stuff, as my agency didn't have the money for the small navy required to police the damn thing.

The wildlife rangers (different from park rangers, I'll explain some other time) told me that one summer, a group of men were out fishing close to shore, where the trees provided shade, allowing them to spend more time "fishing," or as we in the service liked to call it, "drinking beer out of you catch cooler so the rangers don't kick you off the lake." Well, these lovely trees also provided a snake, via gravity, into the floor of their boat. Thanks to the 2nd Amendment, all boat occupants were helpfully in possession of a small arsenal of firearms. The occupants, using their cat-like reflexes and gnat-like intellect, whipped out said firearms and proceeded to rid the boat of the snake. They also rid the boat of it's buoyancy at the same time. But hey, small price to pay, right? The wildlife rangers were dispatched by a good samaritan who heard the shots, and all boat occupants were rescued. Other than the snake, of course... I hear it escaped through the conveniently located holes in the bottom of the boat.

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So, now that you've heard my Fish Story, what's yours? Everybody's got at least one, so 'fess up!